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Sycamore police staff shortage means extra hours for officers

SYCAMORE – A shortage of police officers in the Sycamore Police Department this summer may mean overtime for the remaining patrol or auxiliary officers.

Two patrol officers have left or plan to leave the department this year, and the department plans to recruit more officers as a result, Cmdr. Steve Cook said.

Officer Steven Elbrecht retired Feb. 28 after 20 years of service and officer Johnson Miller, who accepted a position with the U.S. Marshals Service, will be leaving later this month.

It is not unusual for the police department to be short-staffed by one or two officers, Police Chief Jim Winters said. He said he is not concerned about officers’ abilities to respond to calls.

“We may be short, but we’re not at the bare minimum,” he said. “There are always times when officers are off on training or on maternity leave.”

City Manager Brian Gregory said part-time auxiliary officers might be called upon to work overtime.

Patrol officers are the main component of the department’s Operation Division and are divided into four teams: two during the day and two at night. The teams work 12-hour shifts that switch off at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Each team is made up of four patrol officers and one sergeant.

The application process to fill the vacancies will begin Monday and applicants will take a written test for the position Sept. 21. Winters said the department will look internally at current auxiliary and other officers in the department as well as externally for new hires.

Officers responded to more than 22,000 incidents in 2018 that ranged from traffic crashes to handling calls of individuals in mental health crisis. Incidents are down, however, from 30,000 in 2017 and 27,000 in 2015, according to the Sycamore Police Department annual report.

The most common incidents patrol officers respond to are traffic stops and improper parking. There were 2,835 traffic stop and 750 improper parking incidents in 2018.

Crime in general also has decreased in the past two years, according to the annual report.

In 2018, Sycamore saw a decline in index offenses – the eight classes of crimes reported annually by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation – mostly because of a 26% decrease in thefts.

Those who are interested in applying or who want more information about the vacancies can contact the Sycamore Police Department at 815-895-3435.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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